Recording ASMR is relatively easy provided you have the necessary equipment, follow certain guidelines, and use a DAW like Audacity. Once you’re aware of the basics, you can start to produce high-quality ASMR right away.
How to record ASMR on Audacity – like all new skills, there is an initial period of familiarizing yourself with the process.
You’ll need a suitable microphone, headphones, and other recording equipment to get started. Thankfully, Audacity is one of the best-suited recording software for ASMR.
Learning how to record ASMR on audacity requires patience and consistent practice.
The art of recording ASMR is quite simple, but you must follow the blueprint to get your desired results. Then, when you’re comfortable using Audacity with your chosen microphones, headphones, and recording gear, you can start to experiment to create your own unique ASMR. I’ll cover all of that and more in this guide.
In case you are wondering, Audacity is completely free software. You can find it and download a copy here.
The Basics Of Recording ASMR With Audacity
Recording ASMR is notably different from your average audio or music recording. To create the desired results, the audio must be recorded, mixed, and processed meticulously. This doesn’t mean you need a wealth of experience and equipment to record ASMR, though.
Audacity has emerged as one of the most popular free DAWs for podcasters, music producers, and ASMR artists in recent years. Arguably its main strength is its simplicity. Compared to other more complex recording software, Audacity makes recording ASMR a less daunting task.
To state the obvious, the first thing you’ll need to check before you start recording ASMR in Audacity is that your version of the software is fully up to date and that it is working smoothly.
It’s important to also ensure that all of the settings within the software are correct.
This includes checking that your inputs and outputs are set to your audio interface, sound card, or USB microphone and that the sample rate is set to a satisfactory amount. You might want to experiment with these settings to find which best suits your equipment.
Take a look at the popular Scarlett Solo audio interface here on Amazon.
- Take a look at my article on recording ASMR on an iPhone. You can read it here.
Audacity Is Very Simple To Navigate.
Audacity features the standard controls that are present in the majority of DAWs. On the main screen, you are presented with the sequencer that displays a graphic representation of the audio waveform.
The basic record, play, rewind, forward and pause buttons are all located on the same page as the sequencer. This is useful when recording ASMR because it allows you to stop and start the recordings without needing dual monitors or having to select a different window.
- Recording ASMR in Audacity is much easier than recording musical instruments and vocals for music.
This is because there’s less room for debate surrounding the best methods for recording the intimate sounds of ASMR. Musicians, on the other hand, are often overwhelmed by the sheer mass of contrasting methods available to them.
The only thing that is required from you if you want to learn how to record ASMR on Audacity, is persistence.
It’s all well and good amassing the necessary equipment and following all of the tips offered in this guide, but if you become disheartened when you don’t get it right initially, it’s unlikely that you will stick at it and reach your potential.
Now that we’ve covered the basic skills and the mentality you’ll need to learn how to record ASMR on Audacity, it’s time to dive straight into the process.
- In the following section, you’ll find information on the equipment you need, and how to use it for the best results.
Choosing Your Microphones For ASMR Recording
To record ASMR audio into Audacity, you’ll need to carefully select the microphones you use.
It’s preferable to have multiple microphones at your disposal, but you can start recording high-quality ASMR with just one. What matters is that you choose the right variety of microphones.
There are two main types of microphones used for recording audio. These are dynamic, and condenser mics. The former is great for recording loud sound sources, such as guitar amplifiers, drums, or powerful vocals. However, dynamic microphones are not ideal for recording ASMR.
This is because dynamic mics are much less sensitive than their condenser counterparts.
Condenser microphones are therefore the preferred choice for this type of recording, and several technical aspects make them perfectly suited to ASMR. The Blue Yeti microphone is a prime example of this.
- Check out my article on recording ASMR with a Blue Yeti Microphone. You can read it here.
Before you rush off to purchase a condenser mic it’s important to differentiate between the various types.
Condenser microphones are categorized by their polar patterns. These control the directionality of the microphone’s capsule, which is a key aspect of ASMR recordings.
The most common polar patterns found in condenser mics are:
To make sure you choose the right condenser microphone for your specific style of ASMR recording in Audacity, you need to understand the difference between the various polar patterns. This directly affects the amount of audio that will be picked up by the microphone from different directions.
The most common polar pattern in a condenser microphone is cardioid.
The benefit offered by cardioid condensers is their ability to focus mostly on sound sources that are positioned directly in front of them, with good off-axis rejection preventing spill from the back and sides entering recordings.
If you intend to use Audacity to record ASMR with single sound sources, such as one person speaking, then cardioid would be a good choice. However, if you wanted to record conversations between two or more people, or record sounds around the full periphery of the capsule, it’s probably not the best choice to go with.
Super-cardioid and hyper-cardioid condenser microphones are simply more focused versions of the cardioid polar pattern. These microphones are great for honing in on a particular ASMR sound source, but again, cannot pick up multiple sounds from different directions.
Omnidirectional microphones are capable of picking up sound equally from all directions. Regardless of whether the speaker is positioned in front, behind, or at either side of the microphone capsule, it will record them with equal gain. The advantage of using this type of microphone is that it allows you to record multiple ASMR sounds into Audacity simultaneously.
Finally, another popular choice of condenser microphone that you could choose to use to record sounds into Audacity is the figure-of-eight variety. Also known as bi-directional, these microphones are sensitive to sound that come from the front and back, while it rejects any sounds coming from the sides.
Once you’ve decided on the polar pattern that you require for your ASMR recordings, you’ll need to consider whether to go for a USB microphone or a standard 3-pin XLR microphone. Both of these connections offer several benefits and drawbacks that should be assessed.
If you don’t know which to go for, here are the main benefits of the two connectivity options:
|USB Condenser Mics||XLR Condenser Mics|
|Connects directly into laptop or computer||Connects to an audio interface or preamp|
|Powered by USB connection||Require external +48v phantom power|
|More prone to latency||Reliable, balanced connection|
|Can’t be used for live sound performances||Can be used live or for recordings|
Monitoring And Recording ASMR In Audacity
Once you’ve decided on the microphones that you are going to use for capturing ASMR sounds in Audacity, you’ll need to know the basic methods for recording audio using the software.
Firstly, if you’ve chosen to opt for a USB condenser microphone, then you won’t need an audio interface.
On the other hand, if you’re going to use a microphone with an XLR connection, you’ll need to obtain a capable interface. There are plenty of affordable devices that will accommodate high-quality recordings.
The Basics Of Recording In Audacity- Explained
To record ASMR in Audacity, you need to create a new project. You can do this by simply selecting File, then Save Project. You then need to set up monitoring within the software. To do this, select the dropdown menu that is labeled “Recording Channels”.
If you’re using a Windows computer, you then need to choose the correct playback and recording devices from their respective drop-down menus. If you’re using an audio interface, select this device for both the input and outputs. If you’re using a USB mic, select the computer’s built-in sound device, ensuring that you select the line-in.
Mac users should select the audio interface if they are using one, or the “Built-in Audio: Line In” input device. Once these settings are established, you’re ready to decide whether you’d rather monitor your recording, so that you can hear it in real-time as you capture the audio.
- I would recommend that you do set up monitoring in Audacity.
The reason that this is beneficial is that it allows you to constantly check the sound, tone, levels, and clarity of your recordings. You can then make adjustments in real-time, to avoid having to go through the rigmarole of recording, then listening back, and then amending any issues.
Due to the attention to detail that is required for recording ASMR, being able to hear your recordings as they go into Audacity is invaluable. It will take many reviews and self-criticisms to get the recordings exactly how you want them, so monitoring is a great way to speed up this process.
Once you’ve selected the correct input and output devices from the drop-down menu in Audacity, you need to set the volume level of your recording input.
To do this, click on the arrow that points downward in the “Recording Meter”, and then select “Start Monitoring”. Do a test recording using your microphone, and then play the loudest part of the waveform.
You should aim for the level to reach around 0dB on the scale, but be careful that they do not exceed this, as that will result in digital distortion and clipping.
Now that you’ve set up Audacity to record and monitor correctly, it’s time to go back to the “Transport Toolbar” and begin recording. The standard red circle icon on the toolbar will begin your recordings, and you can pause and restart using the blue icon.
Now you can start to record some ASMR sounds using your condenser microphone, and listen back to them in Audacity. Don’t worry if they don’t sound professional just yet, the following advice and tips will improve their quality dramatically.
Mixing Tips For ASMR In Audacity
Once you’ve recorded your first ASMR tracks into Audacity, the next step is mixing them.
- The key to producing high-quality ASMR recordings is to limit the amount of mixing that needs to be done by capturing the audio as cleanly as possible in the first place.
With that being said, mixing is still a vital part of the process. By using the onboard editing tools and effects in Audacity, you can tweak the dynamics, frequencies, and tone of your recordings to make them more immersive and spine-tingling.
Thankfully, mixing ASMR in Audacity is fairly easy.
Some DAWs are renowned for being complicated, which can deter a lot of aspiring recording artists from using them. Audacity was designed to keep things as simple as possible, so don’t worry if you’re inexperienced in the field of mixing audio.
Before we get into some basic processing techniques, it’s worth explaining how you can edit the size and length of audio recordings in Audacity. If you wish to shorten a recording, simply use the Zoom In button that is located on the Transport Toolbar. Then, use the Selection Tool (mouse cursor symbol) to choose the point that you wish to trim.
Next, you can choose to delete from the point that comes before the audio that you have selected, or choose to delete after it, using the Selection Tool. This allows you to edit out any mistakes from your records, or trim any unnecessary audio that doesn’t serve the ASMR experience.
Using Dynamics In Audacity
Once you’ve set the level on your microphone input, you can further adjust the dynamics of your ASMR recordings using the inbuilt tools that Audacity offers. These dynamic effects include:
The compressor essentially adjusts the dynamic range of your recording.
This is particularly useful for ASMR because there needs to be some consistency in the dynamics to avoid shocking the listener with sudden spikes in volume or making the audio difficult to hear when the volume drops.
To use a compressor, you simply select it from the drop-down effects menu and apply it to your chosen recording track. You can adjust the amount of compression using the Ratio and Threshold parameters, then add or remove gain at either the input or output stage.
Audacity’s limiter is useful for controlling peaks in your ASMR recordings. It works by leaving quiet signals that are below the set threshold unaffected and targeting the signals that are above the threshold, limiting their volume.
The onboard leveler combines the functions of the compressor and limiter effects. This effect is less commonly used, but I’d encourage you to experiment with it to see if it can add any benefits to your ASMR recordings in Audacity.
Check out this video by ASMR artist Gina Carla. This channel has over 400k subscribers.
She is using the popular Rode NT-1 Microphones in this video.
Equalization & Frequency Control For ASMR Recordings
After you’ve tamed the dynamics of your ASMR recordings using the previously mentioned effects in Audacity, you may need to adjust the frequency response to get the desired results.
The four tools that are included in Audacity’s effects menu for this purpose are:
- High-pass filter
- Low-pass filter
- Notch filter
EQ is the main tool you’ll use for controlling the frequency output of your ASMR recordings. Audacity boasts a very capable EQ effect, which can be used as a graphic equalizer. This allows you to visually see the frequency response of your recording, and use sliders to add or remove frequencies from the mix.
One thing to consider about EQ is that less is usually more. It can be tempting to boost the “sweet spot” frequencies of your ASMR recording, but it is better to use a method known as reductive EQ.
This is where you take out unnecessary frequencies, which results in the more desirable frequencies appearing more prominent.
High pass and low pass filters are specialized EQ effects. They both work by allowing certain frequencies to pass through the filter while reducing the others. For example, if you are recording a softly spoken ASMR vocal track, and you notice that there are some low-end frequencies present, you can use a high pass filter to quickly remove them.
Alternatively, if you find that your recordings are marred by high-pitched hissing, you could use a low-pass filter to quickly reduce the prominence of these frequencies. The notch filter that comes with Audacity is a narrow band EQ which is best suited to targeting specific unwanted tones in your recordings.
Using Reverb In Audacity
Another useful effect that is included with Audacity is reverb. This is particularly compatible with ASMR recordings because it can be used to soften the tone and increase the decay that occurs after the original sound is finished.
The three timing-based effects that are featured in Audacity are:
You can find these effects in the dropdown Effects menu, and apply them to the relevant tracks.
Reverb is a digital simulation of the natural way that sound waves reflect a particular surface. The parameters, such as room size and reverberance, allow you to adjust the intensity and time of the reverb.
The echo and delay effects are less likely to be used for ASMR, but they’re worth explaining anyway. These effects repeat the original sound signal with varying delays and provide a sense of depth to the recordings.
Audacity makes adjusting the various parameters of reverb, echo, and delay very easy indeed.
When you select the desired effect, you will be presented with a window that displays the various settings, and you can either adjust them using the slider on the right-hand side or type in a value in the box.
ASMR recording benefits from timing-based effects, but it’s important not to over-do it. Therefore, I’d advise you to experiment with reverb and delay on a suitable recording. By adjusting the various parameters, you’ll gain an understanding of how the effects work in Audacity, and this will serve you well as you develop your ASMR mixing ability.
Panning & Stereo Imaging ASMR Recordings For Maximum Tingles
One of the most important mixing processes associated with ASMR recordings is panning. Audacity allows you to easily set the panning of each track, to create your stereo image.
Panning is the position of the ASMR recording in the stereo field.
You can set the track to play completely through one speaker, by setting the panning hard left or right. Alternatively, you can choose to position them in the center of the stereo field, or slightly in either direction.
You might find this tutorial video helpful for providing more tips for recording spoken word ASMR in Audacity.
Audacity creates a stereo mix by default. This allows for any sound to be moved in the stereo field, using the slider that appears on the left of the sequencer.
- Panning is extremely important for ASMR recordings because it allows you to create the illusion that a sound is positioned to one side of the listener, creating an immersive, sensitive listening experience.
Again, the best way to learn about panning is to experiment with the settings. It helps to listen in a pair of headphones so that you can get the full ASMR experience. Then, by adjusting the slider, you will notice the sensation of the sounds moving in the headphones.
Panning goes hand in hand with EQ.
If your ASMR recordings are heavy in the mid-range frequencies, you might want to space them out within the stereo field to create separation. This will allow the various sounds to occupy their own space, and make them more clearly audible than if they were all simply set to center panning.
Best Microphone Placement For Recording ASMR
When you first record ASMR audio into Audacity, you’ll need to try out various microphone placements and techniques to get the desired results. The best way to position your mic will depend on the sound source you are recording, and whether it needs to be close-mic’d or captured from a distance.
If, for example, you are recording ASMR whispering and soft speaking tracks, you’ll need to position the microphone capsule as close to the speaker as possible. This will ensure that you capture all of the slight nuances of the human voice, and create the ultimate ASMR listening experience.
On the other hand, if you aim to record distant sounds that add ambiance to your ASMR recording, you might be better off positioning the microphone further away from the sound source. This will result in the acoustic properties of the room being captured, creating a natural sound.
One common issue that ASMR recordings run into is plosives.
These are the tones caused by air pressure entering the microphone capsule when a particular word, letter, or sound is spoken. If left unchecked, plosives can be very detrimental to an ASMR recording, causing unwanted pops and crackles to be present.
Although it is possible to remove plosives retrospectively using EQ, it’s preferable to prevent them from occurring in the first place. One of the easiest ways to combat plosives is to use a pop shield or filter. These mechanisms are attached to the microphone or stand, and block the air pressure from entering the microphone capsule.
Correctly positioning your microphone will also help to reduce the presence of plosives. You should experiment by recording test tracks into Audacity, adjusting the positioning of the microphone and pop shield. When you find a sound that you are pleased with, take note of the positioning you have used so that it can be recreated for later recordings.
Exporting And Rendering ASMR Recordings
The final stage of recording ASMR in Audacity is exporting your audio files. You can then import the audio into your video editing software and synchronize it with the visuals. Exporting in Audacity is very straightforward.
To export a singular audio file, simply click on File > Export > Export Audio. If there are multiple tracks in your recording, you may want to export them separately as individual stems.
You can then choose which format you would like to export your ASMR recording to. Audacity offers WAV, AIFF, MP3, and Audio CD formats. WAV and AIFF are considered to be the highest quality.
ASMR Recording Related Questions
Do I need headphones to record ASMR with Audacity?
Although it’s not strictly essential, using a good quality pair of headphones when recording ASMR in Audacity is strongly advised. ASMR is usually listened to in headphones, so you should check your mix using them before exporting.
Can you edit ASMR videos in Audacity?
No, unfortunately, Audacity doesn’t facilitate video editing. You can mix the audio in Audacity, but you will then need to export it into a video editing software to sync with the visual files.
You do not need the latest version of this software to create high-quality videos to add to your ASMR recordings.
However, you can also find the most up-to-date version of this software online here.
Can you use external plugins in Audacity for ASMR recordings?
Yes, it is possible to download and install external VST plugins in Audacity. To do this, you can access the Audacity plug-in library, choose your preferred VSTs, and add them to the audio effects rack.